This is love.
I just got back from driving Andrew to school. On our way through the carpool line he was talking about the Valentines' treats in his book bag and wondering when they'd be passing them out in class - anticipating whether he'd have to wait all day for chocolates he was drooling over.

I am so not prepared for Valentines Day. I honestly can't believe it's already the middle of February. Last night Andrew reminded me that he needed treats to bring to school so we ran to Target and joined 50 other mom's and elementary age kids on the "aisle of love-chocolates." It seriously looked like a bomb had hit. Mismatched candy and gifts everywhere. Being all creative, we grabbed four packs of non-Valentines mini Kit Kats and decided Andrew write, "From Andrew" with a Sharpie on the back of each one. Thank goodness he's a boy who doesn't care about the packaging.

This morning as we drove through carpool, I started wondering what I should do for Andrew and Joshua for Valentines Day. I knew it might mean a trip back through the "aisle of love-chocolates." But instead of assuming I asked, "Andrew, what makes you feel loved?"

He thought for a minute and said, "THIS."


"Yea. This. You being with me. You driving me to school and talking to me about my day. You telling me you'll be there when I get home. That makes me feel loved and secure. Thanks mom. I love you, bye!"

And he hopped out of the car.

This is love?

You mean, I don't have to run to Target? I can just be here for him and that will be love. Even though I was a mean mommy yesterday so much that he asked if I was mad about something more than once. This is still love?

I stopped to wonder if God were to ask me what makes me feel loved today, what would I say? I thought how true Andrew's words are:

This is love.
  • A promise that is kept.
  • A place that is certain.
  • Someone being there.
  • Love being present again and again.
Today, because of my son's simple child-like heart, I see what love is. And my heart whispers..."Lord, this is love. You asking and caring. You being there. You keeping Your promises like You said you would. This is love. This makes me feel secure."

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us (first) and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins... And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him....There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect (complete) in love. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4: 10, 16-19.

We are loved. We don't have to wait for God to show it. He already has. He promised He'd always be there for us and He is. He is present and listening. Asking and caring. No matter what we are going through today, we can live and love from the overflow of being loved. We can know and rely on God's promises and presence and be made complete in Him. And this is love.

Oh, Lord, remind us and embrace us and pour out on us your perfect, completing and unfailing love today. As we think of those we love and the ways we want to be loved, remind us that we are Yours and we are loved!!!

Update: I just got a call from Lysa about the plane crash in upstate New York. Please pray for these families. O Lord, may they feel your very present help and the power of your love for them in this tragic loss.


Blogger Nikki said...

What a beautiful post. I pray that someday my children will say that "This" is love. Two nights ago I spent a sleepless night helping three children as they took turns vomiting all night long. I hope that someday they will understand that "This" is love, not presents or expensive vacations, but the ins and outs of being there for them when they need me most. They are too young right now (5,4,2, and 11 months) to truly grasp the full concept but I pray that deep down inside they know that I love them, even when I'm "tired, grumpy mommy" and lose my temper. Please pray for me and my growing family. I am newly pregnant with #5! I am still internalizing all the info from last month's Encouragement for Moms and trying to apply many of the ideas and techniques in our home. My prayer is that my exhaustion does not affect our days...I'm trying to remember that I can be a "Can Do" mom! Thank you so much for your wonderful, encouraging blog. God often speaks to me through your posts. May God continue to bless you and your family!

Blogger Renee Swope said...

Hi Nikki,

Whether they say it or know it, THIS, that you do and give each day, is LOVE!!!

I was trying to keep my post short so I didn't get to share that the amazing part of this story is that I was a "tired, grouchy and critical-toned" mom yesterday when my kids got home from school. Andrew even asked me if I was mad about something. Seemed liked I was mad about everything. I had a headache and too many things to do and JJ had a meeting here last night with our pastors and I didn't have dinner fixed, and Andrew has a research project and Josh took the computer to his room which is against policy, and... etc. So, when Andrew said that today, it really surprised me. I wish I had included that in the story - that THIS is love - even when I don't always act so loving sometimes.

I am praying for you and your growing family today. One day at a time. One moment at a time. Just try to smile a lot and tell them you love them all the time - even if your feelings aren't matching up. Touch them and talk to them. Those are the little deposits that count most when they are that age. Then keep doing it as they get older. It's taken time with Andrew to "get" my love but I am seeing that all those times of leaving work early to get home on time and hopping in my car each morning in my PJs to take him to school are actions that say, I love you!

I sense that God is loving your children through you in beautiful ways!

Blessings to you!

Blogger Wendy Blight said...

Oh, Renee, I love your post today!!! It is such a sweet reminder that loving our children is so easy and the world tries to make it about so much more. Simply being available, listening, and caring...that is loving Mom.

Love you,


Blogger MrsProverbs31 said...

Thanks Renee for sharing. Sometimes I can get so wrapped up about preparing presents for my children when all they wanted is to spend time with me. That is so true.

God bless, and tell Andrew, I said thanks for the reminder.

Blogger Stacey said...

Thanks for keeping me in line Renee. It really is that simple, isn't it!

Blogger Sarah said...

Hug that little boy of yours! He is a gem.

Blogger Jenny said...

That was a lovely post:)

Blogger Joyful said...

Tears meet your words today. How beautiful.

"This is love.
A promise that is kept. A place that is certain. Someone being there. Love being present again and heart whispers...'Lord, this is love. You asking and caring. You being there. You keeping Your promises like You said you would. This is love. This makes me feel secure.'"

God's love for me and my family today has been a place of security under the shadow of His wings. I have felt and known His love. We were met with my Dad's diagnosis of cancer last night, and though my mind is still struggling to grasp the reality, I have felt held all day. God is so good.

Finding Him here in the reading of your words...this too is love.


Blogger Amy W. said...

Like usual your blog had perfect timing. Earlier this week I was trying to explain to my boss why it was so important to be to try and continue working part time. He is very supportive of me working part time. But,I think the fact that my kids are now in school he wonders why I don't want to work full time. But, like your son I like to be there when they get home, even if it is only 2 days a week. I will never get this time back in my growing children's life, and I don't want to miss anymore of it than I have to. I enjoy hearing about their day. I don't enjoy homework time, but I am glad I am there if they need help.


Blogger Chef Diane said...


Thank you for writing such a touching post today. It was funny that I was laying in bed propped up with the laptop and my 17 year old son came in the room. Each of my son's have their own love language, his is touch. He just laid on the bed and pulled up his shirt. He wanted his back scratched. That was his way of feeling loved. The language of teens.
Prayers to all those in the plane crash.

Blogger Mary Beth said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

And about Love and Respect... best book on Marriage... best philosophy we have ever come across in our minsitry. My husband and I do marriage retreats and alwasys introduce couples and churches to Love and Respect and the DVD series.

GOD has used it to transform many marriages.

Blogger Melissa Milbourn said...

I love this. :-)

Blogger Tonya Ingram said...

All of my thoughts have been expressed through the other comments. It is simple. I try to tell their Dad that all they want is his time. He doesn't give as much as he needs to, and although I cannot see any affects of the time he doesn't spend with them, I pray that God change their Dads heart and help them understand it all.

Blogger Wrinkled Shirts said...

Those little stinky boys can be so sweet. This stinky momma needs to be much sweeter on this Valentine's Day!
Paula G. <><

Blogger Joy in The Truth said...

Oh, are right on TARGET with "THIS"!

Wow...I pray my little cherubs (6 and 8) recognize "THIS" as love. What a beautiful truth your son shared with you! What a treasure for your mom heart! And what a special boy to recognize love to purely.

I am home this morning with one of our cherubs, who is recovering from a fever. I pray this cherub has felt our love as we care for her during her fever. :)

Blogger Julie Gillies said...

This post inspired me, Renee! It never occured to me to ask my kids what makes them feel loved. SO, when my 13-year old daughter and I were out on a bike ride I asked her. Though I wasn't surprised by her answer (she wants me to spend time with her doing fun things) I think the conversation was good.

Not only that, but I will be asking my older sons, my daughter in law, and my grandkids the same question. I'm looking forward to hearaing some interesting answers, then meeting those needs.


A beautiful memory your son gave you. You will recall it for many years to come.


Blogger Kimberly said...

:) I drive my babies to school in my jammies, too! Aren't you just so glad love doesn't have to necessarily be dressed in matching clothes with perfectly fixed hair? :) I'd be in SOOO much trouble if it did!

I am glad you shared that you had a not so nice mommy day, but that your son still got your love. Not only does love not have to be dressed perfectly, it doesn't have to be perfect in any way. I fall short continually, and yet God can still minister to my precious babies through this imperfect vessel. What a relief!

Thanks for the encouragement to keep smiling, keep touching, keep driving in my jammies. :)

Blogger JottinMama said...

What a precious boy you have, Renee. That is the sweetest :)

Im so glad you shared this. Today I have been dealing with certain thoughts about sometimes feeling like my job as homemaker and stay-home-mama are just not important enough. Your post helps me realize that it is. Whether it is car pooling, cooking, cleaning up toys - it is important to my family and it is more than enough.

As always, thanks so much! Have a wonderful week :)

-Kate :)

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